Waitaminute, this isn’t my Christianity blog…
I try to be polite. I try to smile and nod and just let it go. It’s none of my damn business how you choose to express your faith, and trust me, my faith can take a lot of shaking and knocking about. but this comic is the last straw.
The tag line on the comic is, “You’re supposed to give up something you love.”
THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU ARE “SUPPOSED” TO DO.
This, THIS is what Lent is about. This is what is being read in every Episcopal church in the US today, right out of the Book of Common Prayer:
Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.
Faith is not about giving up. Faith is about gaining belief, gaining trust. Repentance is not about giving up. Repentance means, literally, turning away. Turning away from those things that are not compatible with Christian life. I’ll allow that not eating chocolate may be a piece of self-denial, okay, good. Where’s the rest of it? If you’re going to join the Dirty Forehead Club, you’ve got to do the rest of it, too. This is not just some ha-ha, lookit me, I’m reading the Bible! kind of holiday. This is hardcore, a six week boot camp of the Christian Life, and that’s not just what you eat. That’s what you say, what you read, what you do.
It’s tough, yo. And there’s nothing but the grace of God to get you through it.
And another thing: You’re not supposed to go around telling people what you’re doing for Lent! It’s right there in the Gospel reading for today, Matthew 6:17-18:
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
So STFU already about the chocolate.